QUESTION OF THE DAY: What advice would you give to your OLDER self?

Dear Ones –

I got a lovely question the other day from a friend of this page named Nivine, who asked what advice I would give to my older self. (We have already covered on this page such questions as: "What advice would you give to your younger self?" and "What advice would your younger self give to you?")

I thought it was such a cool question, and it immediately made me think of this photo, attached here, which I cut out from a scavenged 1970s-era National Geographic years ago. I've had this photo hung above my desk for a long while now, and my personal caption to it is: "My Retirement Plan."

I love this woman in this picture.

All I know about her (from the old magazine) is that she was from Cornwall, England, and she was a gardener and an amateur stone-mason. (LOOK AT THOSE HANDS!) I love this shot of her, taking a break from outdoor work, in her slippers and sensible stockings, to read a novel in her wheelbarrow.

That's who I would love to be someday, if all goes well.

As to what advice I could offer her? To my future dream self? It seems like hubris for a dumb young fool like me to be offering any advice whatsoever to somebody so wise and cool and serene…but, to attempt to answer the question, I would tell her/me: "Try to keep moving. Don't forget that movement is life, and the happiest moments of your history have been when you are in transit — walking, dancing, flying away somewhere, swimming, puttering, exploring, driving with the radio on. You don't have to move fast, and you don't have to move far, but do keep moving. Movement of any kind is where joy and health are to be found."

Which brings to mind the phrase of the day: "Solvitar Ambulando", an old philosophical notion that translates as, "It is solved by walking." When you're stuck in a crisis, a paradox, a dilemma, an attack of nerves or fear…go for a walk. It will be solved. Whatever it is…it will be solved.

So I would tell my older self to enjoy reading the book in that wheelbarrow, but then to get up again and move some stones around, and dig in the dirt, and sweep the front porch, and — most of all — go for a walk, and ENJOY.

What about all of you? What advice would you give your older selves?


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall